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Posted by NoobRc | Jul 18, 2018 @ 06:38 AM | 872 Views
My second EF Laser v2 74 is almost RTF! I just need to do the basic test and set up for the engine in my yard (I don't like surprises at the field), and make + install a custom push pull rod for the rudder. I will include more notes at the end of my build.

Key highlight is that gas is absolutely push pull for rudder, unless you are in the mood to add 4+ ounces to the tail. I am using a combination of bigger batteries on the turtle deck, and roughly 42 grams of weight at the tail to get the static CG roughly right based on my electric Laser.

To make a 200 mm custom push pull, my solution is to get a 4-40 all thread rod, a sturdy CF sleeve, and use the Loctite plastic bonder to lock the 3 mm ball link on to the 4-40 all thread rod for life. I tested this first with a spare piece of 4-40 thread to confirm it is exceptionally solid. I will include a pic when I am done with it. Right now waiting for the 4-40 all thread rod to arrive.

Equipment:

Falcon 20 x 9 CF prop
aluminum spinner
DA 35
stock DA muffler
MKS 1250 throttle servo
MKS 1220 surface servos
EF servo arms
EF tank
Plumbing from JerseyModeler
iBEC from TechAero

Radio and related:
10 channel Jeti receiver, DSM 10 switch, R/3 SW remote for DSM 10 switch, and a pair of 2S Lipos.

I have 2 x 2S 2200 Pulse (100 grams each) and 2 x 2S 5000 Glacier (200 grams each). I will likely start with 2 x 2S 5000 and adjust from there based on flying CG....Continue Reading
Posted by NoobRc | Jun 15, 2018 @ 07:03 PM | 2,768 Views
My EF Laser v2 electric kit arrived today with all the goodies I was hoping for! So i am going to create a blog about this build experience, focusing on things I find interesting and share my thoughts. I will reserve the first couple of comment slots to add more things as I go, so everything is in one place..

First impressions:

Unboxing revealed a truly "gorgeous" scheme for the RWB as Chris Hinson had called it. I am truly impressed. I was used to the 7X series like MXS which was solid but needed updates. Then came along the Slick 74 which truly transformed the 7X category and raised the bar on the finish, the materials, attention to detail, ease of build etc. Hold on, then came the Edge 75 which i built - raised the bar even more. Now this Laser v2 is absolutely the best kit I have received from EF. Even the packaging is improved enough, a lot more plastic and paper wrapping to protect parts. My plane has ZERO wrinkles! Despite traveling 10K miles and passing thru so many hands.

I was not too sure about the trim on the bottom of the wing - just looking at the pictures. Now looking at it in person, i am happy - the contrast is great, and the white accents really make the blue stand out. I need good contrast, and this is plenty for me!

Getting started:

Step 1 - Quick inspect: I inspected everything quickly and made sure nothing missing and nothing broken. It almost never an issue with EF.. very rarely i have found...Continue Reading
Posted by NoobRc | Jun 02, 2018 @ 09:54 AM | 2,097 Views
I work in the Digital world. Web, social, email, many channels. In the course of marketing, selling, supporting, and innovating products - companies often find themselves getting unexpected feed back - both good and bad.

Some companies have designated channel reps (eg. web forum vs social vs..), others have brand ambassadors - a network of influencers in industry who champion the cause.

Regardless of the approach, evidence overwhelmingly shows that customers rally to brands that stay polite, demonstrate empathy, and most importantly demonstrate they are listening to customers.

Bullying or negative behavior by channel reps or brand ambassadors has a far more detrimental effect to the brand than the actual brand impact due to any negative comments. Customers don't want others to be treated in a way they would not tolerate themselves.

Trolling on the "competition" is the worst. Leading brands snuff this out quickly, recognizing that it actually reflects poorly on their brand to tolerate or encourage trolling on the competition. When somebody posts a long chat that portrays another manufacturer negatively with a note that says "I hope you see it" - you know the intention is not for the manufacturer to see it, but to troll and drool on it. Doing so will damage the thread more than it will hurt the other brand.

The RC world is a cottage industry, and by and large lacks many of the formal marketing approaches. But the principles don't...Continue Reading
Posted by NoobRc | Mar 22, 2018 @ 06:31 AM | 2,089 Views
Live Another Day! (3 min 38 sec)


I don't have a single video of me flying. People have asked me to post a video now and then. More importantly, I feel that reviewing a video will really help me develop the "art" of flying.

Right now, i think i can do most if not all of the maneuvers you can look up in the basic 3D / XA realm - KE, KE spin, pop top, snap roll, inverted, harrier, hover, blender etc.

What i have not learnt yet is how to combine my skills into a routine that not only has stunt but also show. Make it look good, connected.. not just a recipe of stunts I can do one at a time, re-setting in between. There is nothing like video feed back to help yourself, I learnt that in a couple of other situations.

So I finally dove into getting a video cam. Looked at various styles, felt a hat cam was best for me. Ended up getting the following:

1. A baseball cap with a quick mount - go pro buckle style, velcro adjustment in the back

2. A grab bag of mounts / connectors for go pro, including a 180 deg

3. A Yi 4k plus camera - with a touch screen, wifi, and awesome phone app

4. A waterproof housing for the Yi - it was really the only way to get the Yi connected into a buckle mount. But good thing as well.


Next step was to figure out how to do a video end to end. I first got a couple of videos with my dog Teddy chasing and occasionally (almost) grabbing my yard foamie. Its a TwistedHobbys MXS-C 32 inch foamie that gets replaced...Continue Reading
Posted by NoobRc | Feb 17, 2018 @ 01:57 PM | 3,237 Views
Just returned from the field after absolutely the most perfect maiden day i have had - and this was with my all weather version of the ExtremeFlight Slick 52!

Compact field in Westborough MA with gusty cross wind directly in my face. Sunny, just above freezing.

I had another pilot stand next to me as a precaution, just in case i needed to trim a lot for the maiden flight. Have needed that just once in 30 planes, but that once i was glad somebody was there to make it easier on me to land safely.

In this case, in the first 10 seconds, i knew I had a perfect plane! Two tiny clicks (1%) on elevator to account for my CG preference, and that was it. It was tracking like an arrow with the wind! I do have a Demon Cortex Pro installed, because this is my All Weather plane - ready to go under almost any weather i can venture out. Also set up without wheel pants so i can switch to skis in two mins.

But i never used the gyro today, and this is true of about 70% to 80 % of the days I fly. When i was done flying, the club president commented that the plane tracked so well, the gyro was really worth the money. His jaw dropped when i told him i had never turned the gyro on! That is reserved for days when it is unexpectedly very gusty and i feel i am putting my plane at risk.

Every frame is different, and in a couple of batts, i had settled in on the perfect CG for me. I don't think i can do a proper 45 inverted test at this compact field, so i did the Cody W method....Continue Reading
Posted by NoobRc | Dec 13, 2017 @ 02:58 PM | 2,952 Views
Writing and maintaining this blog to hopefully serve as a POV from a Noob customer who has built many EF planes across all available sizes except for 9X. If you are new to 3D and looking at EF, or considering certain planes, this may help you.

First to be clear, I am a big fan. EF is a great company that makes some of the best performing 3D planes across all sizes, so congrats, you can’t go wrong buying EF!

Selecting Your First Plane:

Tip 1: if you are new to 3D, start with a 60 Electric, especially a 60 Edge. The undercarriage seems to be built to take a hammer hit, and you will likely have more than your share of bad landings if you are new to 3D. Smaller size planes are cheaper but they will break more easily. And unless you have great repair skills you will compound your challenge.

Tip 2: If you are not comfortable with or cannot afford a 60 electric or you know your 3D skills are really really Nooby, go with something like a Twisted Hobbys 43 Veloxity. It’s airfoiled well, is a small enough size to fly at smaller fields, and repairs will be easier and cheaper. Ofcourse you can start with something like a 32 inch MXS-C from Twisted Hobbys to get your stick movements in the right direction and coordinated but it will not transfer well to balsa. The 43 inch Veloxity is more than half way there.

Ordering Parts for a Plane:

Tip 3: Don't blindly use the order configuration on the EF website. For two reasons. First its not always right,...Continue Reading
Posted by NoobRc | Oct 16, 2017 @ 05:12 PM | 3,481 Views
It was under perfect field conditions that i crashed my gas Slick 74 that i had come to love so much. Lost orientation about 30 feet right in front of me and with the plane hovering 20 feet above the runway.

I spent a few weeks pushing my skills with 60 electrics and then decided to build an Electric version of the Slick 74. Why electric? Winter is coming - i feel more comfortable getting an electric plane rather than a gas plane on skis.

Kit arrived this past Thursday. I had originally planned to build it over a few weeks but this Noob can only stare at a kit for so long! So i built it in a day and half but took my time to really figure out the nuances of the bigger electrics, since this is my first electric bigger than EF 60.

Here are the build pics with some notes. I will add some final pics after the maiden on Tuesday Oct 17 (hopefully). The idea with these pics is to make it easy for another Noob to understand what could be done.

Super simple build:

XPWR 30 motor
Castle Edge HV 80A ESC
Castle BEC Pro
Jeti MUI 75 telemetry (flight pack V, A, and MAH consumed)
Jeti R7 Plus receiver
MKS 1220 servos
EF Servo arms and servo extension
EF CF spinner
EF Blazing Star Long stand off
Taildragger RC tail wheel
Scorpion battery straps
- No switches, satellites, or other batts.

I did make sure to upgrade the firmware on all the electronics just to be safe. It is also easy and recommended to set up the ESC with the Castle Link vs. via radio...Continue Reading
Posted by NoobRc | Aug 04, 2017 @ 02:20 PM | 3,902 Views
Wow,

After taking my "jack of all planes" position seriously and with a lot of advice and help, i charted out a new course to start mastering RC basics.

First i got a pair of EF 60 Yaks identically set up, and worked my best to get the CG perfect, the throws, DR and expo perfect (to my liking anyway). I practiced on those for a couple of weeks until i got really comfortable with a CG that was neutral, and working at high throws and high expo pretty much all the time.

I also found an incredible instructor just out of luck. The president of a club i fly out of, knew of this amazing pilot, a college student who was back for a few weeks during the summer and was open to providing some formal tutoring. This instructor started on RC when he was 8, and by 20 he is truly distinguished. I have spent several sessions with him now, pushing my skills, going back home and working on the sim, back again, etc. It has really made a world of a difference to me. My instructor is not extremely capable, he can easily replicate every error i make, however subtle, and then show me how to avoid it. That has been invaluable.

Then i hit a wall again! This time, it had to do mostly with ergonomics. I have been flying a standard radio, with a smooth throttle with no friction, and very little tension on the sticks. I realized that i simply could not avoid coupling / mixing aileron to elevator, or rudder to throttle. It was very frustrating. I mean i fly well and...Continue Reading
Posted by NoobRc | Jul 06, 2017 @ 02:32 PM | 4,512 Views
After 20 months of RC, starting with the Apprentice 15e, thats where i find myself.. a jack who can fly any plane but a master of no plane.

Months 0 - 6: learn to fly and not to crash- lets say 10 to 15 planes to round it out..
Months 7 - 10: 48 and 60 inch ExtremeFlight electrics (48 MXS, 48 Extra EPP, 60 MXS, 60 Extra, 60 Edge)
Months 11 - 12: Extremeflight Gas (83 MXS)
Months 13 - 15: Back to 60 inch ExtremeFlight electrics to fly in winter with skis on ice and snow (60 Edge Demonstrator, 60 MXS, 60 Extra, 84 TBM)
Months 16 - 20: ExtremeFlight Gas - 74 Slick, 110 Yak, 104 MXS

??

My primary motivation to go from electric to gas was to gain more flight time to practice (15 to 20 mins vs. 6 mins per flight), and I was tired of charging batteries all the time. And bigger planes do fly better.. maybe subconsciously i was hoping my skills would go further with bigger planes

So i got what i wanted, and now i can fly all of these planes ok. But I kept hitting a road block with my skills. I can do basic 3D, but not like an expert. I pushed myself on the sim, more and more stick time. Diminishing returns. I was getting a little frustrated. I know i have the eagerness to learn and my thumbs are pretty smart.. i can do amazing stunts with my electric foamie i fly in my front yard.

I have no coach or mentor in the real world. No local expert I have found so far to guide me. I have done as much as I can with youtube videos and asking on the forums. The...Continue Reading
Posted by NoobRc | Jun 06, 2017 @ 03:56 PM | 5,990 Views
My yellow / blue MXS 104 kit arrived in great shape and promptly delivered by Old Dominion! The next chapter begins!
Posted by NoobRc | May 12, 2017 @ 06:09 PM | 8,137 Views
To date all my gas planes have been 7X frames, single cylinder. I got the inspiration for going to a bigger plane after i flew a friend's EF Extra 91 with a DA70. Man those twin cylinder engines are so good!

So i started doing some research online, and talking with experts. I settled on an EF Yak 110. I just recently got an EF Yak 60 electric, and i simply adore it. Its one of the last 60 electrics I purchased, and it was clearly saving the best for last. I love the way a Yak flies nd I think the cowl adds some character. I am going to capture my build here, editing and appending the post as I go. I will include a final bill of materials when i am done.

All Days Indicated as Calendar Days (not the days i worked on the plane), with Day 0 being the day the boxes arrived!

Day Minus 2:

I received the Jeti receiver system a couple days prior to the plane arriving. I am going with a Central Box 200 with 3 receivers - this includes a receiver for remote power on / off. I really love this feature.

> Set up a model in my Jeti DS16, copying from my Slick 79. Zeroed out all the trims and sub trims. The Yak 110 requires 2 servos per aileron, 1 servo per stab half, and one for rudder. Changed main wing configuration to 2 flap 4 ailerons. In the servo assignment, added ailerons 3 and 4, and deleted the flap mapping. You don't have an option of simply selecting 4 ailerons without 2 flaps, hence the work around.

> Bound all 3 receivers and did...Continue Reading
Posted by NoobRc | Apr 22, 2017 @ 09:33 AM | 6,463 Views
This post covers some notes I made on maintaining gas set ups that other Noobs like me might find useful. Thanks to Neil (msgnfg) on RCG for sharing some ideas as well. I covered some specifics of a MXS 76 gas install in my previous blog post.

1. Throttle servo - takes careful effort to get right the first time. Really good to keep checking that the servo is firmly mounted, the ball links are secure with no slack on either end, and servo arm is not coming loose for any reason. Anecdotally, this appears to be the most frequent issue when gassers run into trouble of any kind - dead sticks, inconsistent idle, strange throttle response, etc.

2. Muffler - check both bolts at least after every few flights initially. If it is staying very solid, you don't need to keep checking. If it gets even a little bit loose after multiple flights after re-tightening - redo the install (polish with fine sandpaper, use high temp ATV, nordlocks if available, etc).

3. Fuel line - check no chafing where it exits firewall

4. Servo leads connected to ignition, BEC, and receiver.. triple check they are tight. I use tape to hold the servo leads to the receiver and ignition. So I can just quickly check that the tape is holding.

5. If using inline filter between tank and engine - make sure real tight.. (I add some tape to hold it solid)

6. Clunk and other lines - nothing loose (just replace after 2 seasons?)

7. If using pull -pull, check that no excessive wear and no excessive...Continue Reading
Posted by NoobRc | Apr 21, 2017 @ 06:49 PM | 6,794 Views
So I have been flying gas planes now for a few months.

My very first gas plane was a Red / White / Blue MXS 76 (83) by Extreme Flight. Crashed it on the first day. I ran out of fuel far from the run way after mis-reading how to gage a tank full based on the return line. Somebody who wasn't quite the expert had instructed me to see the fuel in the return line (without opening the canopy, stupidly). Hard lesson. Since then I open the canopy after every refill to make sure the tank is indeed full.

In terms of gas planes, now I own two ExtremeFlight MXS 76 (Red White Blue and Yellow Blue). Also own an ExtremeFlight Slick 79 and the latest exciting plane from ExtremeFlight - Slick 74 EXP.

I have learnt a lot in this last few months about building and flying gas planes, although what I know is still a small fraction of what experts know.

My first gas MXS I made a lot of mistakes but it still flew fine. Now I can build them much better. So I decided to go back and fix up a few things with my first MXS - things like the throttle servo set up, upgrading the receiver systems, etc.

Somebody on RCG asked me to capture detailed pictures of the gas specific items since he is considering the MXS 76, so that's what I have done below. I will make a separate blog entry on run time maintenance for gas planes that Noobs like me will find useful.

As caveat, I am not an expert. However, I have had zero problems in about 150+ flights with gas planes so far, so...Continue Reading
Posted by NoobRc | Nov 22, 2016 @ 06:05 AM | 7,255 Views
One thing that surprises many is how crashes seem to suddenly go up even as you gain more experience with the trainer and getting ready to solo. In fact based on the 10 or so students I have helped and from my own experience - there is a simple crash curve and it repeats as you scale up your skills.

Phase 1 - no crash, happy to go home: When you are new to the hobby and flying with a buddy box - your initial focus is on steady flights at reasonable altitude. Your instructor maintains recoverable control at all times. So there are no crashes.

Phase 2 - a crash nearly every session: once you master the basics of flying around, it's time to start practicing approaches - after you do those well, try the landings. This is ofcourse the riskiest part of your training. Your instructor has very little time to recover as the plane gets close to the ground. Suddenly it feels like everything is going wrong - you are crashing more often and lucky to go back home without some repair necessary.

From an instructor's standpoint -this is a delicate balance between playing it very safe and letting you take some risks and learn. So it's inevitable that you will likely crash a lot more even as you are getting better with RC.

I discuss this with my students and give them a choice. I can almost guarantee a recovery with any approach or landing - or I can let them try and recover on their own (as long as it is still safe). Safety first ofcourse.

What helps you the...Continue Reading
Posted by NoobRc | Nov 21, 2016 @ 09:43 PM | 7,323 Views
Assuming you are following the steps I recommended in my previous article, it is easy to get your wings. But you will need to focus.

The instructor:

Most clubs i have been to - struggle with matching instructors to students. This is after all a volunteered service in a hobby - and demand peaks in the spring and summer.

My advice: Be polite and persistent, and don't hesitate to call your designated instructor about scheduling time if they are open to receiving calls. At the field, don't wait for an instructor to come to you. Ask a designated instructor when they can fly with you. Some clubs will let experienced members fly with students on buddy box, especially to practice specific things. Ask them, and in summary - don't be bashful. If you have the opportunity to fly with different instructors - do so. It may open your eyes to other observations and techniques. In my case, i learnt 70% of what i needed from two sessions with a second instructor, after 4 sessions with my first instructor were not as helpful. Different styles of teaching, and different points of emphasis.

Your sessions:

Some instructors like to get students in the air and get them to fly around in circles, session after session. Useful but not so much. Its critical to have a specific goal for every session, and a clear definition of success, especially after your first few sessions of general orientation, field rules, flight rules, etc. Practicing loops, practicing turns...Continue Reading
Posted by NoobRc | Nov 21, 2016 @ 08:54 PM | 7,394 Views
This week marks my first year anniversary in the RC world, when i first got to a field with an instructor and an Apprentice 15e trainer.

Yesterday, I was (surprisingly to me) nominated and unanimously voted in as VP of one of the larger clubs in the Boston area, with over 120 active members.

As I reflect on this incredible year in the hobby, I wanted to capture and share some thoughts before I forget. I am also planning to upgrade our club's instructor program, and more students will be joining us. So I am hoping over time, that this will serve as a personal reference i can direct some of my students to.

In this first post, I want to capture some thoughts on starting training. Even in my first year in RC, I have trained over 10 students with various levels of backgrounds, commitments, and with very different attitudes about training. And working with these students has taught me a lot.

In general, you get what you put into the hobby. If you invest enough initially to get through the learning curve, you have a life time of fun. Some people get dejected by challenged beginnings and give up. I was there a couple of times in my first year.. but keep at it, you will get some great rewards from this hobby.

Equipment and software spend:

You generally get what you pay for in the RC world. A good simulator program, a really good radio (if you are committed to the hobby) and a simple sturdy 4 channel trainer are an absolute must to progress in a predictable manner....Continue Reading